Easy game day recipe for mouthwatering crispy baked garlic parmesan wings coated in a delightful garlic and parmesan sauce with a hint of paprika. I love to serve these on football nights or when we have friends over.
Chicken wings became popular when The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York came up with the Buffalo Wings in the late 1960s. However not many people like the spicy wings and these crispy baked garlic parmesan wings are a great alternative instead.
What you need
I’m a big fan of recipes that can be made in any starter kitchen without specialized equipment. Apart from an oven, the only other equipment needed is a good knife, cutting board and some mixing bowls.
Although not essential, I do suggest investing in a non-stick baking sheet. The chicken wings are baked in the oven and a baking sheet will help in the cleanup afterwards.
A broiler rack is quite handy to have as well. I’ve tried baking the wings on a flat baking tray and the bottom doesn’t cook as well as the top. A broiler rack will help in uniform baking, prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the pan and also let the fat drip down.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Apparently when the original wings were invented, the recipe creator had some leftover buffalo sauce that she tossed fried wings in. My recipe sticks to the tradition and hence the ingredients needed are quite minimal and readily available.
Chicken Wings are sold separately in US grocery stores as a combination of the actual wings, wingtips and the drumsticks. They may be sold separately in other regions of the world. However, this recipe will work well for boneless chicken cut into small bite sized chunks too.
The spices needed are Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper and Paprika.
Garlic powder is ideal because sliced garlic tends to fry in the high heat. The salt and pepper draw in moisture during the baking process keeping it moist and tender. Paprika is an optional ingredient which I like to add and helps provide a little spicy kick to the wings. It’s also a great way to introduce spice to young kids.
The garlic parmesan sauce is a mixture of unsalted butter, minced fresh garlic and grated parmesan cheese. Purists might argue that self-shredded parmesan cheese is best. However, store bought finely grated parmesan cheese will work just fine. In fact, it sticks better to the wings and gives it the characteristic flaky texture. Adding in a touch of honey complements the paprika to give a lovely sweet and savory combination.
How to Make the Wings
Let me tell you a little secret about chicken wings. Most chicken wings are deep fried which makes it quite unhealthy. My recipe bakes the wings instead of frying them making it a lot healthier without compromising on the final taste.
First brine the chicken in cold water and salt. Brining chicken doesn’t involve many steps but adds a lot of benefits to the baking process. It helps lock in the moisture which keeps the chicken juicy and tender. All one needs to do is place the chicken in a bowl with cold water with half a teaspoon for about 20 minutes. Although ideal, this step can be skipped if in a hurry.
After brining the chicken, transfer the chicken wings to a broiler rack. A baking tray lined with aluminum foil or a wire rack lined with parchment paper will also work. Pat dry the chicken pieces with a paper napkin.
Mix the salt, pepper and garlic powder and then sprinkle over the chicken wings. The goal is to evenly coat all the chicken wings without creating any clumps.
Bake the wings at 400F for about 40 minutes. After baking the wings, turn the broiler to high and then broil it for 10 minutes. This crisps the skin creating the same effect as a fried chicken wing.
To make the sauce; mix in melted unsalted butter, minced garlic, parmesan cheese, paprika and honey in a mixing bowl. The butter congeals quite fast so be prepared to toss the baked wings in the bowl so that they’re uniformly coated. Alternatively, you can coat the wings with a baster so that all pieces are evenly coated. The paprika and honey can be skipped if you don’t have those ingredients available.
These chicken wings are best served with ranch sauce or blue cheese sauce. In some southern states, I have seen it served with bacon bits or gravy on the side.
The wings will keep well in an airtight container for up to a week. The wings do tend to lose their crispiness when microwaved after being refrigerated. If you’re a big fan of the crispiness, just pop them in the oven for about 5 minutes before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Minced garlic will actually fry when baked in the oven at 400F for an extended period of time. Hence, garlic powder is used during baking and the actual minced garlic used in making the sauce.
I prefer McCormick but any brand will work just fine. Just make sure it is fine ground salt and not coarse salt that needs to be ground before using. I do not recommend using Himalayan pink salt for this recipe.
Crispy Baked Garlic Parmesan Wings
- Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowls
- Baking Pan/Tray
- Baster (optional)
- 4 lbs Chicken Wings
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter,
- 3 Garlic Cloves ,minced
- 4 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ tsp Paprika Powder
- 1 tsp Honey ,optional
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Brine chicken in a large bowl with cold water and 1/2 tsp of salt for about 20 minutes. This helps keep the chicken moist and tender.
- Transfer chicken pieces to a broiler rack. Line them up on the pan and pat dry. (if you don’t have a broiler rack, use a baking tray lined with aluminum foil or nonstick baking sheet)
- Mix the leftover salt (1 tsp), black pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle the salt mixture on the wings making sure to coat them evenly.
- Bake at 400°F for about 40 minutes. Set the broiler to HIGH and broil for an additional 10 minutes. This makes the skin crispy without overcooking the interior meat.
- Melt the unsalted butter in the microwave or a saucepan. Add the minced garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, paprika powder and honey to the melted butter. Stir to mix the ingredients.
- Add the chicken to the bowl or pan and toss to coat evenly.
- Serve with ranch or blue cheese sauce.
- Skip brining the chicken if in a hurry. It has some impact on juiciness but will not affect overall taste and texture of the chicken wings.
- The wings will keep well for up to a week, if refrigerated in an airtight container. They will lose some of their crispiness when microwaved after refrigerated.
- For a more gourmet feel, use shredded parmesan cheese instead of store bought finely grated parmesan cheese.